Nuclear plant maintenance benefited from joint development

The modelling of work processes that promotes the inclusion of the personnel was ideal for developing nuclear plant maintenance work. The method helped identify development needs and establish a shared understanding of daily routines and the important aspects of the flow and safety of work. The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health also released a non-technical guide that workplaces can use, regardless of their industry.
Anna-Maria Teperi
Anna-Maria Teperi
Arja Ala-Laurinaho
Arja Ala-Laurinaho

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health media release, February 9 2022 

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health studied whether the modelling of work processes is an effective way to develop nuclear plant maintenance work. Three processes were modelled in the research project: responding to failures, planning alteration work and developing reporting processes. 

The results were positive. The modelling of work processes improved the personnel’s shared understanding of daily work routines and its development needs.  

Nuclear plant operations have certain features that make it particularly important that there is a shared understanding of daily routines. In safety-critical environments, processes need to be clear and secure from interruptions. The personnel must know how to use new and conventional technologies.  

“Participative methods support changing the culture towards a more developing approach. That is what safety is about: transparency, joint activities, overcoming challenges, making complex things simple,” says Research Professor Anna-Maria Teperi from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.   

It is important to reinforce shared understanding of work processes in the event of a change 

Modelling work processes is very useful in reducing interruptions, improving quality and flow of work and promoting co-operation and flow of information. 

“The study showed that the goals of certain processes were a little unclear, which had troubled maintenanceengineers. The concrete operational model lead by a third-party instructor helped highlight the needs for development in a constructive manner,” says Senior Advisor Arja Ala-Laurinaho from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.   

In safety-critical industries, it is particularly important to ensure that the personnel has a shared understanding of the work processes and how they interact with each other. The need for this is particularly important whenever changes take place: for example, if the organization changes or a new technical device is taken into use.  

The guide published as part of the research project provides the prerequisites to model various work processes.  

“Joint development is sometimes considered to be cumbersome and time consuming. I would like to challenge the management of workplaces to consider whether participative working practices are suitable for their daily work routines. Considering the potential benefits, the investments will pay off many times over,” says Anna-Maria Teperi.  

Participative Development for Supporting Human Factors of Safety (PARSA)  

For more information, please contact 

  • Research Professor Anna-Maria Teperi, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, anna-maria.teperi [at] (Anna-Maria[dot]Teperi[at]ttl[dot]fi), +358304742371 
  • Senior Advisor Arja Ala-Laurinaho, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Arja.Ala-Laurinaho [at] (Arja[dot]Ala-Laurinaho[at]ttl[dot]fi), +358304742516 

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